North Shore property owner offers to take down concrete barrier poured on Sunset Beach

But his attorneys also want permission to use another temporary erosion control measure.
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 10:14 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 4:54 AM HST
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SUNSET BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) - A North Shore property owner who poured concrete on the berm behind his Ke Nui Road home has been granted more time by the city to remove the barrier.

Friday was the original deadline set by the Department of Permitting and Planning for Josh Van Emmerik to remove the concrete or face prosecution and fines for constructing the barrier without building permits or shoreline variances.

But Van Emmerik’s lawyers asked for, and were granted, a 60-day extension after they told the state Department of Land and Natural Resources that he would remove the barrier by mid-December.

The community has been pressuring him to take it down since early October.

“It was obviously a crazy thing to do,” said North Shore resident Denise Antolini. “It’s not even working, and I’m sure that’s motivating him as well.”

“I understand probably why he did it, but the beach belongs to all of us,” said North Shore Neighborhood Board Chair Kathleen Pahinui. “It’s public trust. And you just can’t be altering the beach because of your home.”

But Van Emmerik’s offer to remove the concrete comes with a request. In a letter obtained by Hawaii News Now, Van Emmerik’s attorneys asked the DLNR to approve an emergency barrier, like a so-called sand burrito, for one year, after he takes down the wall.

“I found it to be very, very disappointing, because it seems to be proposing a continuation of solutions that don’t work, and also no real taking of responsibility for the really outrageous behavior of this landowner,” said Antolini.

There’s been no decision yet from the land board. But in another case just down the beach, the board approved a settlement over a seawall that was illegally rebuilt five years ago on a Sunset Beach property belonging to James and Denise O’Shea.

“The O’Shea’s will remove and dispose of the new seawall by December 31st, 2024,” Michael Cain, administrator of the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands told the land board.

“The O’Shea’s will be liable for a fine of $50,000, plus $2,500 in administrative fees,” he continued as he detailed the settlement for the board.

“There’s a whole bunch of these cases that are bubbling at different points, so we need to find a better solution than litigation,” said Antolini.

Van Emmerik’s attorneys declined further comment on the letter to the state. There was no immediate word on what the DLNR plans to do with Van Emmerik’s request.